I first ventured on a six degrees of Wikipedia separation journey, as part of National Blog Post Month in November last year (https://andrewpearce16.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/linking-william-of-orange-to-hotel-babylon-6-degrees-of-wiki-separation/). It was good fun at that time, and so I’ve set out again. My starting point this time came from entering my lower-case initials into the Wikipedia search engine, and following up the first result that came in.
Alkaline Phosphatase may not be something that you are familiar with, but it is an essential chemical in the safe production of milk for human consumption, being an indicator of the successful completion of the pasteurisation process.
Clicking on milk reveals that it is an agricultural product extracted from mammals during or soon after pregnancy and used as a food for humans. The largest producer and consumer of milk in the world is India, although interestingly, that country is entirely self-sufficient and neither imports nor exports a drop of the white stuff!
India is the second most populous country in the world (1.2 billion people), and is the birthpace of four of the world’s major religions : Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism. It is conservatively estimated that there are 4.2 million Jains in India, although it is likely that the influence of the religion is much more widespread than even that number suggests, with Jain communities existing in 34 of the 35 Indian States. Literacy rates among Jains are also the highest by religious group in the country.
Laxmi Mall Singhvi was both a Jain and a prominent Indian lawyer, politician and jurist. He was a member of the Indian Supreme Court at his death in 2007, and prior to that he served for six years as Indian High Commissioner for the UK from 1991. In 1993 he gave the Rede Lecture at the University of Cambridge, following in the footsteps of many of the greatest philosophers and lawyers to have been produced by that ancient and august institution.
Amongst Singhvi’s predecessors as a Rede Fellow was the aristocrat, politician, diplomat and writer John Buchan, who delivered the lecture in 1929. This was fourteen years after Buchan had published arguably his most famous novel, The Thirty-Nine Steps, which (incidentally) is only 33 steps more than I am going to go on this Wiki-separation journey!